The liver is an incredibly complex organ and is central to good health. Aside from the absorption and metabolism of nutrients (a colossal job in itself), the liver is responsible for the detoxification of harmful substances. These substances come in the form of poor quality food, drugs (caffeine, alcohol, paracetamol), heavy metals, pesticides, fertilisers, antibiotics and moulds. Substances can also originate from the body in the form of pathogenic bacteria, fungus, yeasts and spent hormone molecules.
The detoxification processes that take place in the liver are dependent on certain nutrients to work as co-factors to eliminate unwanted molecules from the body. To keep your liver happy, include the following foods daily:
Brassica family of vegetables: cabbage, kale, broccoli, Brussel sprouts
Vitamin B rich foods: whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables, split peas, organ meats
Sulphur rich foods: garlic, onions, eggs
Soluble fibre: apples, oats, legumes
Vitamin C rich foods: watercress, kale, broccoli, peppers
Citrus fruits: oranges, lemons, tangerines (*not grapefruit, it contains naringen which inhibits stage one detoxification in the liver)
Spices rich in antioxidants: turmeric, coriander and cumin
Always make sure that you drink plenty of water and eat as much organic food as possible to reduce the toxic load.
Liver Healthy Recipe—Spicy Green Spanish Omlette
This is a super tasty tried and tested recipe that I created using lots of herbs and spices to specifically to nourish the liver.
Ingredients (organic where possible to reduce exposure to toxins)
½ tspn turmeric
½ tspn crushed coriander seeds
½ tspn crushed cumin seeds
½ tspn black pepper
1 hot red chilli pepper diced
1 medium red onion sliced thinly
1 small sweet potato, prebaked and diced
75g shredded kale
½ medium head of broccoli, cut into small florets
5 organic eggs
Melt the oil in a frying pan and add the spices, chilli and onion on a low heat. Add the sweet potato and stir gently.
Meanwhile very lightly steam the broccoli florets and shredded kale until they start to turn a darker colour of green. Add them to the spices in the frying pan and mix until all the ingredients are coated with the oil and spices.
Beat the eggs and add the vegetables to the eggs. Add a little extra oil to the pan if required and pour the mixture back onto the heat for 3-5 minutes. Once you can see the bottom has cooked, move to a hot grill to heat from above for a further minute or two until cooked through. (Serves 3 – 4).